Food demand and supply

Food Demand and Supply

Factors affecting foodsupply

There are many factors thathave an influence on supply of food in the modern world. Theenvironment is the most important factor. The environment includesair, soil and water among others. If there is a problem on any of theenvironmental factors, there will be insufficient food supply. Forexample, soil fertility or inadequate water can have a huge impact onagricultural activity and thus food supply. This is because foodproduction is highly dependent on the environment. Environmentalfactors such as droughts and storms may destroy vegetable crops anddisrupt agricultural activities resulting into food shortages(Rosamond, 2014). In the modern world, food supply has been largelyaffected by climate change and global warming. Agriculturalactivities play an important role in green gas emission. However, itis one of the worst affected sectors by the negative impacts of greenhouse gases emission. Climate change has resulted into aggregateincrease in atmospheric temperatures increasing the quantity of landthat can not be used in food production. The unpredictable climaticconditions such as flooding and prolonged drought have adverselyaffected food supply. An increased number of societies in the modernworld have insufficient food supply due to adverse weather conditionsassociated with global warming (Alfen, 2014).

Although the environment isthe single most important factor that affects food supply in themodern world, there are other factors. Government policies can have ahuge impact on food supply in a nation. There an explicit nationaland international policies that regulate the food market. Forexample, in the United States, the food market is regulated by the‘United States Department of Agriculture’ and Food and DrugAdministration’. For example, the government can regulateimportation and exportation of food commodities which impacts on foodsupply. Additionally, government policies determine which food shouldbe sold in the country. Market forces in the economy also have aninfluence on the supply of food commodities. Basic economic lawsstate that when the demand of a particular commodity is high, moreproducers will be willing to produce. Thus, since food is a basiccommodity, there are many people in the market who are willing to forit. As a result, there will be an increase in supply of foodcommodities in high demand. For example, a many countries do notproduce sugar and coffee. However, due to demand, producers fromdifferent parts of the world are motivated by demand to producesurplus which is exported to markets abroad (Alfen, 2014).

Technology has had a hugeimpact on agriculture since the agrarian revolution. Moderntechnologies such mechanization of agricultural activities, pestcontrol, weed control and bioengineering have had a huge impact onfood supply. Agricultural machineries have increased the number ofhectares under food production, while reducing the cost ofproduction. This has increased the supply and affordability of foodcommodities. The use of chemicals in pest and weed control has alsoincreased agricultural yields and thus food supply. Most recently,the advent of bioengineering technologies such as geneticallymodified organisms have impacted positively on crop animal husbandly.Although some of these technologies are controversial provide areprieve from inadequate food supplies (Alfen, 2014).

Factors affecting fooddemand

Population grown is the singlemost important factor that influences food demand in the modernworld. It is predicted that between 2006 and 2050, food demand in theworld will have increased by up to sixty percent, if the currenttrend in human population are maintained. Estimates indicate that by2050, the world population will have hit nine billon people. Today,the world population is estimated at slightly below seven billionpeople. The rapid increase in population, among other factors, in thelast two centuries has increased the demand for food. This has beenattributed increased fertility and advancement in medicaltechnologies which has decreased the mortality rate and death rates.Some of these factors have an indirect impact on demand for foodcommodities (Rosamond, 2014).

Another important factor thathas an impact on demand for food commodities is the changes in thesocial and economic structures. Traditionally, subsistence farmingwas the main method of food production. This is where an individualcould produce food for his own consumption. In absolute subsistencefarming, there is no surplus in production and the produce issufficient for the producer. This eliminates food crop market(Ronald, 2010). Although an entirely subsistence system isimpractical in the modern world, the change from a subsistence modeof food production to commercial food production has a huge influenceon food demand. The modern society is dominated by rural to urbanmigration which increases the demand for food commodities in theurban centers. Additionally, there is an increased in dependencyratio in the modern society. Due to changes in the social structure,the number of people depending on a single producer has increased.The increased middle class, which has a direct impact on the dietchoices, has an impact on food demand. An increased middle class, forexample, has increased the demand for packaged food commodities inthe market (Raghbendra, Raghav &amp Anil, 2014).


Alfen, N. (2014). Encyclopediaof agriculture and food systems,Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Raghbendra, J., Raghav, G. &ampAnil, B. (2014). Handbookon food: demand, supply, sustainability and security,Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Ronald, T. (2010). GlobalAgricultural Supply and Demand: Factors Contributing to the RecentIncrease in Food Commodity Prices,ISBN 1437921094, DIANE Publishing.

Rosamond, N. (2014). Theevolving sphere of food security,Oxford: Oxford University Press.